While Evangelion is one of the most popular anime titles for Otaku all around the world, it’s clear that it’s a bit of a mess, production wise.
The production team was hit with funding issues throughout its making leading them to change around the show’s ending.
While two films were later made to fill in some of the blanks and end the series a proper, it’s clear that the franchise never turned out as creators wanted.
So in 2002 the creators started working on what is now known as Evagelion Rebuild.
Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone is the first of four films (or a tetralogy/quadrilogy as the kids call it) in the Rebuild Evangelion series. The films are based upon the original Neon Genesis Evangelion series created by Hideaki Anno and Yoshiyuki Sadamoto.
Eva 1.0 follows the basic plot as the first six episodes of the television series as series main character Shinji Ikari is recruited by his father Gendo to become a pilot for NERV, a UN run organization appointed with the protection of earth.
The organization formed after an incident called second impact ends up killing half of the world’s population. Soon after giant monsters called Angels start attacking earth.
While Shinji is excited to see his father, whom he’s been estranged from for years, he doesn’t realize that his father is only interested in him piloting a Evangelion, an advanced fighting mech used to kill Angels.
While this is happening, a secret organization that runs NERV, called SEELE starts putting their agenda in motion. But who’s interests are they working towards?
Fans of Evangelion will be happy to know that Eva 1.0 is a faithful adaptation of the original six episodes of the show. Some of the dialogue is changed due to pacing, but most of the visuals are based upon the original show.
While fans might like this, it does bring up the question of why they needed this movie. Arguably the narrative and technical issues of the series didn’t stem from the first few episodes, so the first film feels kind of useless due to retreading the first six episodes.
Returning fans will be happy to hear two familiar voices returning for the Funimation dub, namely Spike Spencer and Allison Keith-Shipp as Shinji and Misato his beer drinking guardian/roommate respectively. The rest of the characters have been recast using many familiar voice actors from the Funimation bullpen.
While the plot of the first film didn’t change one aspect that did are the visuals. While the original show used traditional animation for it’s Angels and Eva units, Rebuild uses 3D animation to allow the creators more freedom. While the mix of 2D and 3D animation doesn’t normally look that great, it’s clear that this project took the time to make the two different art styles work together. At times the meshing of styles are barely noticeable making it one of the best examples of the style in film.
The style allows the production team to create some cool looking fight scenes as well as revamp a couple of the technical workings of NERV.
On the subject of art and animation, this film might feature some of the strangest product placement I’ve seen in an anime. Brand names such as Pizza Hut and Doritos are visible throughout the film. Its kind of gross to see how predominate this product placements is.
One chief complaint about the Eva franchise stems from its main character Shinji. While he’s still whinny and weak willed, the films running time of 98 minutes only allows so much complaining to be done by the character and that should be welcomed by some fans.
While the short running time does tone down some of the annoying elements of Shinji’s character, it doesn’t help the film’s overall flow. The film moves quickly, as you might expect, and doesn’t really give the viewer any time to think about the things that are happing in the movie.
It also makes some of the plot points, namely the side story with Shinji’s school friends, watered down losing most of the dramatic impacted that was needed.
In addition the films soundtrack doesn’t really stand out that much either, as most of the films major scenes are wall-to-wall dialogue that doesn’t give the music any room to shine. Like many anime films, it does feature an ending song but while it is ok it isn’t that different from typical ending anime ending themes.
In the end, Eva 1.0 is a decent opening film to start the Rebuild of Evangelion. It features some cool visuals, has good voice action and is interesting enough for old and new fans. But it’s lack of good pacing, strong soundtrack or really anything to make it stand out from the original series make it feel pointless and ultimately a bit useless.
Hopefully the films turn that around, in the next film.
Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone was directed by Hideaki Anno, Masayki and Kazuya Tsurumaki. Animation was done by Studio Khara. The films are licensed by Funimation Entertainment (North America), Manga Entertainment (Europe), Madman Entertainment (Australasia) and KlockWorx (Japan).
Note: The Funimation distribution team did some weird product naming with the films. While the film is named Evangelion 1.0, the DVD release is called Evangelion 1.01 and the Blu-ray Evangelion 1.11. Why? Cause they can.